SAINTS chairman Eamonn McManus says the club are still exploring the possibility of playing Australian premiers Penrith Panthers in the World Club Challenge - but accepts it is logistically very difficult against the backdrop of Covid restrictions.

The team were denied the chance of pitting themselves against 2020 NRL champions Melbourne Storm at the start of this year, and a clash in early 2022 looks similarly challenging.

However, Saints have not given up hope of getting the game on - and there is a real appetite to see what this three-peat winning team could do on the world stage.

Chairman McManus said: "The hard reality is that it is going to be very difficult in terms of travel restrictions and quarantine.

"It has been a disappointment that we have not been able to test ourselves and the last time was nearly two years ago against Sydney Roosters and on the day we could and should have beaten them even though we were missing three key players on the day.

"It would be interesting to see how this St Helens club would do in that World Club Challenge.

"I think we would have been pretty confident this year just gone against Storm and next year against Penrith, a pretty exciting young team who we would love to play.

"It is something that we will explore, but it is going to be very difficult."